Thursday, March 31, 2016

Hooligan's Wake Up: Qatar in trouble again, Neville fired by Valencia

Yesterday's Scores
Seattle Sounders II v. Arizona United- 10:30pm- YouTube
(Hollingsworth 16', Cortez 24')

LA Galaxy II 3-0 St. Louis FC
(McBean 43', 58', Rebellon 45')

Things have never looked good for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The construction for the event has been littered with trouble with hot weather, bribery allegations, and abuse towards unpaid migrant workers. It's that last item making more news yesterday as Amnesty International has published a report documenting their experiences at a venue's construction site. Interviews with over 200 workers produced stories of withheld wages, poor living conditions, and recruitment fees making the World Cup nothing short of miserable for these people. All the more reason that the event should be taken away from the Middle Eastern nation.

The manager apocalypse is returning. On Tuesday we lost Remi Garde in England and yesterday saw the demise of Gary Neville at Valencia. The Englishman was supposed to turn the struggling Spanish side around, but he has won only three of his 16 in charge. He has been on the job for a shorter time than Garde was, having only been hired on December 2.

Manchester City defender Martin Demichelis is in some hot water. The Argentinian is being charged by the Football Association for betting on matches in late January. There are 12 separate offenses, but there are no hints that he bet on any match that he was involved in. Not that this matters for the charges. The FA prohibits betting on any football for any player or manager, regardless of whether or not they are involved in the matches being wagered on.

Today's Matches
No major competitive matches.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Hooligan's Wake Up: USMNT recovers at home, U-23s crash out of Olympics

Yesterday's Scores
World Cup Qualifying- CONCACAF
Trinidad and Tobago 6-0 St. Vincent and the Grenadines
(Bateau 36', Jones 50', 60', Molino 66', Cesar 86', 89')

United States 4-0 Guatemala
(Dempsey 12', Cameron 35', Zusi 46', Altidore 49')

This was more like it from the USMNT. It's wonderful what can happen when Jurgen Klinsmann doesn't play six players out of position and actually selects the best team available to him. DeAndre Yedlin at right back where he belongs, a three man front line with Clint Dempsey playing the number ten for Gyasi Zardes and Bobby Wood. It was fantastic in comparison to Friday night. Dempsey's goal was sort of an accident on a long ball that hit Zardes in the back and jsut fell to him for an easy, easy goal. Geoff Cameron, of all people headed home a perfectly placed free kick from Michael Bradley. Graham Zusi knocked one in a while 18 seconds after the second half began. The rest of the match was simply the USA keeping things tidy at the back and coasting out of Columbus with a much needed win.

Honduras 2-0 El Salvador
(Garcia 53', Quioto 90')

Mexico 2-0 Canada
(Guardado PK 17', Corona 45+4')

Panama 1-0 Haiti
(Baloy 81')

Costa Rica 3-0 Jamaica
(Borges 7', Ruiz 37', Venegas 77')

Olympic Qualifying Playoff- Second Leg
United States 1-2 Colombia (2-3 on aggregate)
(Machado OG 57')-(Martinez 30', 64')

So, the United States fails to qualify for the Olympics for the second cycle in a row. You can think about this in one of two ways. The first is that it's a near disaster the the USA will not be involved in a tournament for the second time in a row. This seems like horrible news until you realize that the Olympics are a U-23 event, for the most part and feature half the teams as the World Cup. The younger American players may be missing out on some torunament experience, but the tournament is experience isn't exactly top caliber and is played late enough in the season that pulling these kids away from their clubs (particularly the MLS players who are in the middle of their season) might negate any positive effects of a trip to Brazil.

World Cup Qualifying- CONMEBOL
Colombia 3-1 Ecuador
(Bacca 15', 67', Perez 48')-(Arroyo 90')

Uruguay 1-0 Peru
(Cavani 53')

Argentina 2-0 Bolivia
(Mercado 20', Messi PK 30')

Venezuela 1-3 Chile
(Otero 9')-(Pinilla 33', 52', Vidal 72')

Paraguay 2-2 Brazil
(Lezcano 40', Benitez 49')-(Oliveira 79', Alves 90+2')

World Cup Qualifying- AFC
Australia 5-1 Jordan
(Cahill 25', 44', Mooy 39', Rogic 53', Luongo 69')-(Salim 90')

Afghanistan 2-1 Singapore
(Amani 39', Shirdel 79')-(Nawaz 89')

Japan 5-0 Syria
(Al Masri OG 18', Kagawa 66', 90', Honda 86', Haraguichi 90+3')

Lebanon 1-1 Myanmar
(El-Helwe 88')-(Aung 73')

Philippines 3-2 North Korea
(Bahadoran 43', Ott 84', Ramsey 90')-(Kyong-Jin 45', Ri 48')

China 2-0 Qatar
(Huang 57', Wu 88')

India 1-2 Turkmenistan
(Jhingan 26')-(Amanow 48', Atayew 70')

Tajikistan 0-1 Kyrgyzstan
(Lux 18')

Uzbekistan 1-0 Bahrain
(Rashidov 50')

Iraq 1-0 Vietnam
(Abdul Raheem 45')

Palestine 7-0 Timor-Leste
(Ihbeisheh 2', Cantillana 18', 66', Pinto 32', 39',  Awad 77', Bahdari 90')

Iran 2-0 Oman
(Azmoun 16', 23')

United Arab Emirates 1-1 Saudi Arabia
(Abdulrahman 52', Al-Jassim 24')

Maldives 4-2 Bhutan
(Abdulla 37', Ashfaq PK 81', 90', Naiz 87')-(Gey;tshen 7', Dorji PJ 48')

South Korea P-P Kuwait (Postponed)

This concludes the second round of qualification for Asia's 4.5 places in the 2018 World Cup. Group winners Saudi Arabia, Australia, Qatar, Iran, Japan, Thailand, South Korea, and Uzbekistan all advance. They will be joined by Syria, United Arab Emirates, China, and Iraq as the best second place finishers. The third round will be A round robin between two groups of six to be played between September 2016 and September 2017. The top two in each group will make it to Russia, while the third place finishers play a two-legged playoff for the right to play another two-legged playoff against a CONCACAF nation.

Needless to say, the Remi Garde experiment at Aston Villa has only run that team further into the ground. Even though the Frenchman was just hired in November, he and the team have now parted ways by mutual consent, as they say. Villa are surely going to be relegated at season's end, and no wonder manager is capable of stepping in and saving them. Eric Black will see out the remainder of this horrid campaign until a new manager can be found.

Today's Matches
Seattle Sounders II v. Arizona United- 10:30pm- YouTube
LA Galaxy II v. St. Louis FC- 10:30pm- YouTube

Monday, March 28, 2016

Hooligan's Wake Up: Pulisic called into USMNT to help save Klinsmann

Yesterday's Scores
No major competitive matches.

It was a slow Easter Sunday in the soccer world, but there were a few significant news stories to come out of the holiday.

The first was the news that Jack Butland broke his ankle against Germany and will not only miss the rest of Stoke City's season, but also the European Championships this summer. This is a hit to both club and country here, as Butland was primed to take over the starting goalkeeper role from Joe Hart, who has held onto the position for quite some time now.

The bigger news, at least as far as we Americans are concerned, is that Jurgen Klinsmann is calling up Christian Pulisic for Tuesday's World Cup Qualifier against Guatemala. there were questions as to why he wasn't there for last Friday's game, but it turns out the 17-year-old phenom came down with a cold. Graham Zusi will also join him in Columbus for the suddenly huge match.

It's great to see Pulisic getting his first senior call up after having played well in his cameos with Borussia Dortmund this season. However, this does nothing to alleviate the glaring mistakes Klinsmann has made in constructing this squad to begin with. Klinsmann, despite knowing about Fabian Johnson's injury, refused to call up a replacement for him at right back. He still has nobody capable of playing that position. He also is stuck with only one capable left back in Edgar Castillo, who is terrible. He has other options available, but he refuses to give a player like Jorge Villafana a look, for some reason.

Tuesday's match is a make or break one for Klinsmann as the USA's manager. If they lose he should be fired immediately. He shouldn't be allowed to leave MAPFRE Stadium with his job intact. A loss makes the climb into the hexagonal to be too difficult to navigate. A win doesn't mean his job is safe, either. It mean's that he really needs to show up for Copa America if he wants to stick around for the last two qualifiers in September. And he will need to do quite a bit to impress me enough to keep him around after that. In the long run, Klinsmann will be fired unless some form of miracle steps in to save him. His results have not justified keeping him as first team coach and I firmly believe that when the USA plays in the 2018 World Cup, Klinsmann will not be on the touchline making the calls for this squad.

Today's Matches
No major competitive matches.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Hooligan's Wake Up: USMNT loses out on Tchani, USL opens in earnest

Yesterday's Scores
New York City 1-1 New England Revolution
(McNamara 10')-(Tierney 38')

DC United 0-3 FC Dallas
(Barrios 14', 28', Urruti 52')

Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0 Houston Dynamo
(Morales PK 23')

Full MLS Recap

Liga MX
Morelia 2-0 Chiapas
(Rodriguez 40', Velazquez 90+3')

New York Red Bulls II 2-2 Toronto FC II
(Allen 66', 69')-(Edwards 35', Thomas 45+1')

Richmond Kickers 3-1 Harrisburg City Islanders
(Callahan 16', Yeisley 23', Imura 48')-(Barril 51')

Charlotte Independence 0-1 Louisville City
(Lancaster 90+4')

Charleston Battery 1-0 FC Cincinnati
(Woodbine 90+4')

Orlando City B 1-2 Wilmington Hammerheads
(Ribeiro 55')-(Fairclough 46', Miller 65')

OKC Energy 1-2 Colorado Springs Switchbacks
(Evans 63')-(Maybin 31', Gonzalez 54')

Tulsa Roughnecks 2-0 Rio Grande Valley
(Catic OG 32', Martinez 46')

Swope Park Rangers 2-1  Portland Timbers 2
(Oliveira 48', Salloi 90+2')-(Besler 90+4')

Real Monarchs 1-0 St. Louis FC
(Orellana 90+1')

Orange County Blues 0-1 Vancouver Whitecaps 2
(Grieg 25')

LA Galaxy II 2-0 Arizona United
(Lassiter PK 11', 31')

North American Tables

The USMNT lost yesterday in Guatemala, and today they lost out on a potential future player. Columbus Crew's Tony Tchani has chosen Cameroon over the USMNT as he was cap tied in yesterday's Africa Cup of Nations qualifier. Tchani was called up by Jurgen Klinsmann in November, but he did not feature in those World Cup Qualifiers due to an injury.

Stoke City took a hit in this latest round of international friendlies. During England's 3-2 comeback win in germany, Jack Butland was forced off with an injury. He had to be stretchered off, and he was in obvious distress, but an examination is pending to see how bad the knock really is and how much time he will miss.

Today's Matches
No competitive matches.

It Happened in America: D.C. United still winless, Caps win second straight

New York City 1-1 New England Revolution
Not to be stopped by the international break, New York City and New England went at it at Yankee Stadium. As such, NYC broke out that wonky W-M formation that saw a fair amount of success against Toronto FC in their home opener. It got them off to a quick start to this game as Thomas McNamara got to a rebound from David Villa's shot off the post to score the game's first goal in the tenth minute. Chris Tierney was able to get the Revs back on the level after they slowly started to mount the pressure. He launched a 38th minute free kick that eluded Josh Saunders after a tricky deflection.

The second half saw the dreaded return of MLS's over protective red carding policy. Gershon Koffie gave New England it's second red card in as many weeks with a challenge from behind on McNamara. In the end, it amounted to little more than Koffie stepping on McNamara's foot. It was a soft red that is continuing to ruin MLS games. Thankfully, New York was too incompetent to be able to capitalize off their man advantage and the points were shared when all was said and done.

The draw means the Revs remain winless although they are the best of the winless clubs with three draws to their credit.

D.C. United 0-1 FC Dallas
D.C. United are still looking for their first win on the year, and they figured they would try and catch a slightly weakened Dallas side at home to find it. It didn't look good early on, though. No Kellyn Acosta or Tesho Akindele didn't seem to bother FC Dallas in the first quarter hour. They took advantage of some putrid D.C. defending in the 14th minute that allowed Michael Barrios to cruise in for an easy opening goal. The United defense continued to falter and they allowed Barrios to hurt them again. At least Dallas was the one doing the creating for his second goal, which cut through the D.C. back line with ease in the 28th minute.

The second half brought no more good fortune for the home team than the first. Dallas scored again in the 52nd minute in very similar fashion to their second goal. Precise counter attack passing led to Maxi Urruti  banging home the third FC Dallas goal. In truth, United were terrible. They were lucky this wasn't much worse than it was. their back line was absent for the entire evening as they let the quick FC Dallas forwards run rampant on them.

D.C. United remain in the winless club, a club that includes New England, Chicago, and Columbus in the East. Dallas, on the other hand, has nine points from 12 through four games and sit atop the West with an extra game played over everyone else. 

Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0 Houston Dynamo
Fresh off hosting Mexico's systematic dismantling Canadian National Team last night, the Vancouver Whitecaps hoped to have a better showing against the Dynamo than their parent nation did. They had some trouble burying any of their many attempts in the first fifteen minutes or so. Only Joe Willis and his stout goalkeeping kept the Caps off the board despite a plethora of quality attempts early on. It took a penalty to give them their first goal. Kekuta Manneh played a cross in towards Masato Kudo, but Kudo was dragged down to set up the Pedro Morales spot kick. The rest of the half was less frantic and Houston started to settle down a bit, but there were no otehr goals to speak of.

The Dynamo began to look more threatening as the second half wore on. They were getting chances in transition, but most were just one and done attacks that didn't present much to build on. Despite some well coordinated efforts and late set pieces, Houston was unable to find an equalizer in the grand scheme of things.

The Whitecaps now have back to back wins following their back to back losses to open the campaign. With an extra game played over most of the West, they find themselves in a playoff spot early on. The Dynamo remain a point back of the red line after they were unable to come up with anything tonight.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Hooligan's Wake Up: Big result for USA U-23s, Guatemala shreds senior squad

Yesterday's Scores
World Cup Qualifiers- CONCACAF
St. Vincent and the Grenadines 2-3 Trinidad and Tobago
(Samuel PK 45', 77')-(Jones 58', Garcia 71', 82')

Haiti 0-0 Panama

Jamaica 1-1 Costa Rica
(Watson 16')-(Acosta 67')

El Salvador 2-2 Honduras
(Punyed 45+2', Bonilla 90')-(Elis 19', Lozano 59')

Canada 0-3 Mexico
(Chicharito 31', Lozanoi 40', Corona 72')

Canada is lucky this result wasn't much worse for them and they can expect to get truly drilled on their trip to Estadio Azteca next week. They aren't in all that bad shape, though. Positive results against Honduras and El Salvador are within reach, so they can still move onto the hex to keep a slight chance at qualification for Russia alive.

Guatemala 2-0 United States
(Morales 7', Ruiz 15')

A draw for the USMNT would have been all that bad, but this loss raises plenty of concerns. Jurgen Klinsmann's... strange choice of back line call ups really showed itself early on here. The first goal, was the result of some awful defending on a corner, particularly by Mix Diskerud. The second came on a goal kick when the central defense allowed a 36 year old Carlos Ruiz to get behind them to go one on one with Tim Howard to double the lead within a quarter hour.

The rest of the match was marred by disconnected USA attacks and poor finishing on the rare occasions that things got put together. The loss does push the USA out of qualification for the Hex, for now. They are two points back of Guatemala with another game against them coming on Tuesday in Columbus. A win there can get things back on track as the remaining matches are against St. Vincent and the Grenadines on the road and Trinidad and Tobago at home. Both are very, very winnable and should allow the USA to qualify for the final round of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying.

World Cup Qualifiers- CONMEBOL
Brazil 2-2 Uruguay
(Costa 1', Augusto 25')-(Cavani 31', Suarez 48')

Olympic Qualifying Playoff
Colombia 1-1 United States
(Quintero PK 68')-(Gil 5')

While the senior team travelled to Guatemala and got hammered, the U-23s fared far better in Colombia. The USA scored early thanks to Luis Gil, who was probably the USA's best player on the day. They had several other chances to double their lead, including one shot off the cross bar. Colombia's goal came off a very weakly conceded penalty by Kellyn Acosta. It was a foul, just one that Acosta didn't have to commit. Overall, a 1-1 draw in Barranquilla bodes well for Tuesday's return leg in Texas. The USA should be happy with this result, even though it probably should have turned out even better.

FC Montreal 0-1 Bethlehem Steel
(Herbers 43')

Sacramento Republic 1-0 Seattle Sounders II
(Stewart PK 63')

The USL season begins with a couple of Friday night matches.If there is one storyline to keep an eye on in the third division this year, it's how the independent clubs fare against clubs with MLS affiliations. All four clubs in action last night were affiliated, but tomorrow we get several chances for an early season comparison. Seven of USL's 29 clubs are independent, and one, Charleston Battery (which is my favorite American club name, by the way), is affiliated with Atlanta United, who don't technically exist yet. Every MLS club has an junior squad in the league, so it''s also a great way to look at the potential contributors of tomorrow.

Montreal Impact have been impressive in the open to this season despite only having their star player out there for less than half an hour through three games. Thanks to the sudden star power of players like Ignacio Piatti, the Impact are proving to be more than just the power of one Ivorian. Their back line may not get much praise, but it has been important, as well. Unfortunately, that defensive unit has taken a hit thanks to last year's defender of the year, Laurent Ciman, injuring his leg in training. Ciman was hurt while blocking a teammate's shot and left the training facility on crutches. It is unknown how long he will be out. Montreal is next in action next Saturday at Seattle.

Arsenal's supporters have begun to question the job status of Arsene Wenger thanks to the recent run of poor results that have seen their club fall out of the FA Cup, Champions League, and the Premier League title race. Their main complaint is that the board is content with nothing more than finishing in the top four each and every season. Comments from shareholder Alisher Usmanov, who owns 30% of the club, will not calm those fears. He is saying that Arsenal need to hang onto their main asset, Arsene Wenger, and that the club's consistent results are the primary reason why.

New England Revolution are one of a couple MLS clubs still playing in an oversized football stadium, but they are seeking to remedy that. Team owner Robert Kraft is in advanced talks to secure a stadium site within the city of Boston to house the Revs. The main complication for the effort lies behind Boston's bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, which include plans for a 60,000 seat stadium near where Kraft wants to build. That facility would be far to large for an MLS club to play in, but could be scaled down after the event. Boston is not considered the favorite to win hosting privileges, so it's doubtful this will truly hang up Kraft's stadium plans. Which is good. For he does not want to wait for bidding to end to get started.

Today's Matches
New York City v. New England Revolution- 3pm
DC United v. FC Dallas- 5:30pm
Vancouver Whitecaps v. Houston Dynamo- 10pm

Liga MX
Morelia v. Chiapas- 10:30pm

Toronto FC II v. New York Red Bulls II- 3pm
Harrisburg City Islanders v. Richmond Kickers- 5pm
Louisville City v. Charlotte Independence- 7pm
FC Cincinnati v. Charleston Battery- 7:30pm
Wilmington Hammerheads v. Orlando City B- 7:30pm
Colorado Springs Switchbacks v. OKC Energy- 8pm
Rio Grande Valley v. Tulsa Roughnecks- 8pm
Portland Timbers 2 v. Swope Park Rangers- 8:30pm
St. Louis FC. Real Monarchs- 9pm
Vancouver Whitecaps 2 v. Orange County Blues- 10pm
Arizona United v. LA Galaxy II- 10:30pm

Friday, March 25, 2016

Hooligan's Wake Up: The world remembers Johan Cruyff

Yesterday's Scores
World Cup Qualifiers- CONMEBOL
Bolivia 2-3 Colombia
(Arce PK 50', Chumacero 62')-(Rodriguez 10', Bacca 41', Cardona 90+2')

Ecuador 2-2 Paraguay
(Valencia 20', Mena 90+2')-(Lezcano 38', 59')

Chile 1-2 Argentina
(Gutierrez 11')-(Di Maria 20', Marcado 25')

Peru 2-2 Venezuela
(Guerrero 61', Ruidíaz 90+4')-(Otero PK 32', Villanueva 57')

World Cup Qualifiers- AFC
Australia 7-0 Tajikistan
(Luongo 2', Jedinak PK 13', Milligan PK 57', Burns 67', 87', Rogic 71', 72')

Japan 5-0 Afghanistan
Okazaki 43;, Kiyotake 58', Mukhammad OG 63', Yoshida 74', Kanasaki 78')

South Korea 1-0 Lebanon
(Jeong-hyeop 90')

China 4-0 Maldives
(Jiang 3', 84', 90', Yang 12')

Vietnam 4-1 Chinese Taipei
(Ving 8', 90', Nguyen 29', 42')

Jordan 8-0 Bangladesh
Aldaradreh 7', 23', 40', Salim PK 29', PK 90', Al-Rawashdeh 32', Faisal 65', Al Naber 83')

Uzbekistan 1-0 Philippines
(Ismailov 59')

Iraq 2-2 Thailand
(Mahdi 65', Namwiset OG 90')-(Tossakai 39', Kraisorn 86')

Iran 4-0 India
(Hajysafi PK 33', PK 66', Azmoun 61', Bakhsh 78')

Oman 1-0 Guam)
(Al Muhajiri 53')

United Arab Emirates 2-0 Palestine
Al-Hammadi 32', Khalil PK 60')

Bahrain 3-0 Yemen
(Abdullahatif PK 31', Al Malood 53', Al Romaihi 90')

Qatar 2-0 Hong Kong
(Al Haidos 20', Quintana 86')

Syria 6-0 Cambodia
(Khebin 7', 19', Kalasi 57', Al Hussain 70', 9-', Malki 84')

Saudi Arabia 2-0 Malaysia
(Al Sahlawi 50', Al-Jassim 74')

Kuwait P-P Laos

Yesterday we mourned the passing of Dutch legend Johan Cruyff. Cruyff was known for his skills as both a player and manager. He lost his battle with lung cancer yesterday at age 68. During his playing career for Ajax and Barcelona, he won three Ballon d'Or awards, two European Cups, and eight Eredivisie titles. He also helped the Netherlands reach the 1974 World Cup Final. He is also a reminder that American leagues have always poached aging European talent, as he had a brief stint in the United States with Los Angeles Aztecs and Washington Diplomats of the original NASL. As a manager, he was the pioneer to Barcelona's famed tiki-taka style of play and the youth development system that they have become world famous for.

Today's France-Netherlands friendly will be halted in the 14th minute in honor of Cruyff, who wore the number 14.

Adam Johnson has been sentenced to six years in the slammer thanks to his child sex charges. This brings an end to the saga that began last year when Johnson lured a 15-year-old girl into sexual acts with him. He pleaded guilty to two charges, was found guilty of another, and was let off on one other.

The Seattle Sounders have signed former American International Herculez Gomez. Gomez, who made seven appearances for Toronto last season, had been training with the team signed on with Seattle having lost all three of their matches to open the season. they are the only MLS club without a point so far.

While I had given up on David Beckham's Miami project, the English superstar sure hasn't. He has purchased a swatch of land in the city to build his stadium to house his unannounced expansion club. His plot is in the Overtown neighborhood of Miami and totals about six acres of land. He still needs approval from the city and Dade County to begin his development.

Manuel Lanzini had been at West Ham on loan from UAE based club Al Jazira, but the East London club has signed him on permanently. It is a four year deal to keep him at West Ham, where he has scored five times in 18 matches. How much the Hammers paid Al Jazira was not disclosed.

Today's Matches
World Cup Qualifiers- CONCACAF
St. Vincent and the Grenadines v. Trinidad and Tobago- 3:30pm- beIN
Haiti v. Panama- 7pm- beIN
Jamaica v. Costa Rica- 8pm
El Salvador v. Honduras- 9:06pm
Guatemala v. United States- 10:06pm- beIN
Canada v. Mexico- 10:08pm- Unimas

World Cup Qualifiers- CONMEBOL
Brazil v. Uruguay- 8:45pm

Monday, March 21, 2016

Hooligan's Wake Up: Dempsey, Howard return to USMNT for World Cup Qualifiers

Yesterday's Matches
Premier League
Newcastle 1-1 Sunderland
(Mitrovic 83')-(Defoe 44')

Southampton 3-2 Liverpool
(Mane 64', 86', Pelle 84')-(Coutinho 17', Sturridge 22')

Manchester City 0-1 Manchester United
(Rashford 16')

Tottenham 3-0 AFC Bournemouth
(Kane 1', 16', Eriksen 52')

Full Premier League Recap

Philadelphia Union 3-0 New England Revolution
(Sapong 18', 33', Le toux 90+3')

DC United 1-1 Colorado Rapids
(Espindola 80')-(Powers 69')

Sporting Kansas City 1-0 Toronto FC
(Davis 70')

Full MLS Recap

VfB Stuttgart 0-2 Bayer Leverkusen
(Brandt 11', Bellarabi 49')

FC Augsburg 1-3 Borussia Dortmund
(Finnbogason 16')-(Mkhitaryan 45', Castro 69', Ramos 75')

La Liga
Espanyol 2-1 Athletic Bilbao
(Diop 54', Caicedo 57')-(Eraso 20')

Villarreal 2-2 Barcelona
(Bakambu 57', Mathieu 63')-(Rakitic 20', Neymar PK 41')

Valencia 0-2 Celta Vigo
(Guidetti 80', Mallo 84')

Real Madrid 4-0 Sevilla
(Benzema 6', Ronaldo 64', Bale 66', Jese 86')

Serie A
Atalanta 2-0 Bologna
(Gomez 27', Diamanti 45+1')

Frosinone 0-0 Fiorentina

Hellas Verona 1-2 Carpi
(Ionita 63')-(Di Gaudio 42', Lasagna 66')

Sampdoria 0-1 Chievo Verona
(Meggiorini 24')

Sassuolo 1-1 Udinese
(Politano 64')-(Zapata 8')

Torino 1-4 Juventus
(Belotti PK 48')-(Pogba 33', Khedira 42', Morata 63', 76')

Napoli 3-1 Genoa
(Higuain 51', 81', El Kaddouri 90+1')-(Rincon 10')

AC Milan 1-1 Lazio
(Bacca 15')-(Parolo 9')

Ligue 1
Bordeaux 1-1 Bastia
(Contento 82')-(N'Gando 84')

Nice 3-0 GFC Ajaccio
(Ben Arfa 14', Plea 66', Seri 88')

Paris-St. Germain 2-0 AS Monaco
(Love 65', Fabinho PK 68')

Liga MX
Puebla 0-0 UANL

Pumas UNAM 4-2 Morelia
(Aguirre OG 24', Ludueña 50', Rodriguez OG 53', Granados 58')-(Cuero 4', Morales 85')

European League Tables
North American League Tables

Saturday saw the United States U-23 squad announce their roster for Olympic qualifying against Colombia, yesterday we got the senior team announcing it's squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers with Guatemala. Several big names make their return to the squad, including Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard, and DeAndre Yedlin. Here's the full roster:

Goalkeepers: David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton FC), William Yarbrough (Club Leon).
Defenders: Ventura Alvarado (Club America), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Monterrey), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), DeAndre Yedlin (Sunderland).
Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes FC), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC), Ethan Finlay (Columbus Crew SC), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Monchengladbach), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers FC), Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution).
Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Bobby Wood (Union Berlin), Gyasi Zardes (Los Angeles Galaxy)

It certainly looks like Klinsmann is bringing his A-team out to play for these pretty important matches. The USA is currently first in Group C of CONCACAF Qualifying and can clinch a spot in The Hex as early as this week with two wins agaisnt Guatemala and Trinidad and Tobago taking at least four points from St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The long reported summer move of Tim Howard to the Colorado Rapids is now official. The USMNT goalkeeper has officially inked a deal with Colorado that will see him return to the States after Everton's season concludes. He will cost the Rapids $600,000 in transfer fees and he will make a salary in the $2.5 million range as a designated player through 2019. That's more than every other MLS goalkeeper combined. Since he is arriving in the middle of the season, only about $250,000 of Howard's paycheck will go against the salary cap for this season.

Today's Matches
None. Entering FIFA International Window.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Sunday MLS: SKC remain perfect, Union tied atop the East

Philadelphia Union 2-0 New England Revolution
The Union were looking to take some momentum home off their big win in Columbus. The Revs were in search of their first win of the season after a couple of draws to open their campaign. It was Philadelphia and CJ Sapong getting the scoring going int he 18th minute. Sapong latched onto a pass with a great first touch that allowed him to get a shot past Bobby Shuttleworth. Some more nice passing led to Sapong's second goal in the 34th minute. A wide move that stared with Fabinho up top moved down to Warren Creavalle down low. Creavalle played a low cross that threaded the lackadaisical New England back line on it's way to Sapong for the finish. Lee Nguyen nearly pulled one back a couple minutes later that knocked both posts before deflecting back to Andre Blake in goal.

After that the referee decided to take over with some shaky calls. First off, in the 36th, Javonne Watson was sent off as the latest in MLS's binge on questionable red cards. Watson was making a play on the ball as jumped to avoid. Watson's cleat clipped his boot leading to a straight red. Then, in first half stoppage time, Andrew Farrell obstructed Ilsinho with a borderline hip check in the penalty area and got called for it. Thankfully, Shuttleworth saved the penalty to preserve the two goal deficit going into halftime.

The second half saw New England control much of the ball with a few Philadelphia counter attacks thrown in. The Union had the better chances, too. The best came when Chris Pontius push a shot wide after Sapong did very well to set him up on a two on one break. Sebastian Le Toux missed a wide open net at the 75 minute mark. The refs tried to give Philadelphia yet another goal in the 79th minute by calling a penalty against Jose Goncalves, but Sapong bought the call by backing into the defender and falling down. Shuttleworth was able to rise to the occasion again and made the save on a pretty bad take by Sebastian Le Toux. Le Toux would make up for that miss by adding the icing on this blowout a couple minutes into second half stoppage time. This means that Philadelphia are one of two East teams with six points, placing them in a tie on points atop the standings.

DC United 1-1 Colorado Rapids
The ESPN match of the day seemed like a dud, but they got lucky (or did they?) when official signing of Tim Howard by Colorado came down to draw a little more interest int he visitors for this one. Add that to Colorado having beaten LA Galaxy last week, and maybe we don't have as boring of a match as the first glance indicated. Howard won't be able to help Colorado score more goals or provide offensive firepower, which is exactly what they could have used here.They only managed to take eight shots on the evening with the one goal being the only one on target. At the time, it looked like that one goal would be enough. It came in the 69th minute off a corner. Dillon Powers raised his head to the ball to knock it in for the Rapids lead. United would not let that stand. They were the better team up front throughout, so it made sense for them to earn the draw in the 80th minute. Fabian Espindola latched onto a pinballing ball in the penalty area that could have been managed better by Zac MacMath in the Rapids' goal. D.C. are still winless on the year, but their pair of draws keeps them out of the basement over Columbus.

Sporting Kansas City 1-0 Toronto FC
Toronto had to storm back for a draw at Yankee Stadium last weekend, now a trip to always rowdy Sporting Park was on the list for them. Kansas City was trying to keep their hot start going. After wins at Seattle and at home agaisnt Vancouver, they were looking to keep the good vibes going. They did remain the only perfect side in MLS through three games thanks to Brad Davis netting the winner in the 70th minute with a fantastic individual effort through the penalty area. The game would not pass by without another reckless challenge resulting in a red card. This one I will not take exception to as Roger Espinoza stomped on Marky Delgado's shin. Either way, Sporting Kansas City are the only perfect team through three games while Toronto adds a loss to go with their win and draw.

Sunday Premier League: Tyne-Wear is level, Manchester goes red at Etihad

Newcastle 1-1 Sunderland
Technically this is the lesser of today's derbies, but that doesn't make the stakes any smaller. With relegation at stake, the most under appreciated rivalry in the Premier League was just as, if not more, important than the more glorious match that went down later. It was also Rafa Benitez's first taste of this Tyne-Wear Derby. The first half was defined by poor finishing from both ends. Misses were the rule of the day until the 44th minute when Jermaine Defoe beat the slow Newcastle defense to a rebound in the penalty area. He subsequently smashed home to give Sunderland the lead at the halftime whistle. It wasn't looking good for the home team throughout the second ha;f. They had plenty more misses to speak of until the 83rd minute when Aleksander Mitrovic headed home a high floating cross from Giorginio Wijnaldum to tie the score. That would sum up the scoring as Newcastle's late goal earns Rafa Benitez his first point in charge of his new club. Both sides remain in the bottom three as a result of this one. Sunderland is a pair of points back of Norwich for the first safe spot in the league. Newcastle is three behind. Both sides have a game in hand over Norwich.

Southampton 3-2 Liverpool
Significantly less was on the line with this match, but Liverpool and Southampton are level for eighth place with 44 points. This one was all Liverpool early on. Philippe Coutinho scored in the 17th minute to start things off and Daniel Sturridge doubled the lead five minutes later. Liverpool was able to enjoy the first half, but the second was nothing short of disaster. Southampton began their fight back until after the hour mark. Sadio Mane, who had to win a red card appeal in order to be on the field for this game, finished a transition attack by blasting one inside the near post in the 64th minute. Saints would level in the 83rd with a Graziano Pelle laser past a diving Simon Mignolet. They would take the lead all of three minutes later when Mane bagged his brace  by taking advantage of Liverpool playing sloppy in their own end. They would hold that lead for good to gain a hard earned three points after being two goals down. Southampton is now only three points back of West Ham for fifth in the league.

Manchester City 0-1 Manchester United
Manchester City is in danger of dropping out of the top four if they don't turn things around. Manchester United could overtake them, and a win here could get the ball rolling on them backing into the Champions league at the end of the season. City would need to contain their cross town rivals without their leader and best defender, Vincent Kompany, who is dealing with a recurring calf injury. Flat footed defending led to United getting on the board first. Marcus Rashford cut trough the stagnant backline after receiving a through pass before slipping a shot past Joe Hart in the 16th minute. The hometown kid had scored against the club's biggest rival, something that will further accelerate his rise through the hearts of United's supporters. They also should have had a penalty in the second of two minutes of stoppage time when Rashford was shoved down in the area, but Michael Oliver didn't make the call, perhaps thinking there was some simulation on Rashford's part. The Red Devils would have to settle for a 1-0 halftime lead.

Manchester City began to show a little more urgency in the second half. Their attacks became more potent as time drew on. Right around the hour mark was when they really started to turn up the head. Sergio Aguero had a couple of wonderful chances that resulted in one header off the post and another that drifted across the face of goal. This sense of urgency and series of close calls was not enough for City. Manchester United held on to win a massive three points at Etihad Stadium. They also climb level on points with West Ham for fifth place and only a single point behind their blue rivals for the fourth and final Champions League place.

Tottenham 3-0 AFC Bournemouth
Tottenham needed to keep pace with victorious Leicester to stay within spitting distance of the title and hold off Arsenal, who also won yesterday, to stay in front of their hated North London rivals. They got off to just the start they were looking for when Harry Kane scored inside the very first minute. It would take another quarter of an hour for Kane to get his second of the game. The Tottenham boy reached his foot to a pass and poked it off the far post and in. Spurs didn't let off the gas in the second half. In the 52nd minute Christian Eriksen pounced on a rebound to tap home Tottenham's third and final goal of the match.  They could simply coast to victory after that to get back within five points of first place Leicester.

Hooligan's Wake Up: USA names Olympic Qualifying roster

Yesterday's Scores
Premier League
Everton 0-2 Arsenal
(Welbeck 7', Iwobi 42')

Chelsea 2-2 West Ham
(Fabregas 45+3', PK 89')-(Lanzini 17', Carroll 62')

Crystal Palace 0-1 Leicester City
(Mahrez 34')

Watford 1-2 Stoke City
(Deeney 86')-(Walters 18', Joselu 51')

West Bromwich Albion 0-1 Norwich City
(Brady 50')

Swansea City 1-0 Aston Villa
(Fernandez 54')

Full Premier League Recap

Chicago Fire 0-0 Columbus Crew

New York Red Bulls 4-3 Houston Dynamo
(Kljestan 22', Grella 63', Felipe 77', 84')-(Bruin 35', 41', Alex 65')

FC Dallas 2-0 Montreal Impact
(Diaz 79', Urruti 87')

Seattle Sounders 1-1 Vancouver Whitecaps
(Ivanschitz 52')-(Morales PK 10', PK 74')

LA Galaxy 3-1 San Jose Earthquakes**
(Zardes 56', 62', Keane PK 90+1')-(Wondolowski 89')

Portland Timbers 2-2 Real Salt Lake**
(Adi 79', PK 84')-(Plata 13', Movsisyan 58')

Full MLS Recap

FC Koln 0-1 Bayern Munich
(Lewandowski 10')

Hamburg SV 1-3 TSG Hoffenheim
(Hunt PK 30')-(Kramaric 20', Volland 23', Vargas 67')

Hertha Berlin 2-1 FC Ingolstadt 04
(Haraguchi 54', Kalou 69')-(Hinterseer 75')

Vfl Wolfsburg 1-1 SV Darmstadt 98
(Schurrle 90+3')-(Wagner 82')

Werder Bremen 1-1 Mainz
(Pizarro 45+3')-(Baumgartlinger 38')

Eintracht Frankfurt 1-0 Hannover 96
(Ben-Hatira 33')

La Liga
Sporting Gijón 2-1 Atlético Madrid
(Sanabria 79', Castro 89')-(Griezmann 29')

Granada 2-2 Rayo Vallecano
(El Arabi 11', PK 54')-(Pablo 45+2', Castro 87')

Real Sociedad 0-1 Las Palmas
(Jose 39')

Deportivo La Coruna 2-1 Levante
(Alberto 43', Marino OG 85')-(Rossi 50')

Real Betis 0-1 Malaga
(Camacho 82')

Serie A
Empoli 0-0 Palermo

AS Roma 1-1 Inter Milan
(Nainggolan 84')-(Perisic 53')

Ligue 1
St. Etienne 3-0 Montpellier
(Roux 74', Tannane 80', Eysseric 84')

Angers 5-1 Lorient
(Ketkeophomphone 14', Mangani 33',PK 90+1', Saiss 39', Ndoye 81')-(Waris 41')

Caen 2-1 Troyes
(Yahia 35', Ronny 54')-(Xavier 22')

Lille 1-0 Toulouse
(Amalfitano 17')

Stade de Reims 0-1 Guingamp
(Sankhare 26')

Olympique Lyonnais 2-0 Nantes
(Perrin 83', Lacazette 90+4')

European League Tables

Liga MX
Club America 2-1 Leon
(Peralta 34', Andrade PK 78')-(Hernandez 51')

Monterrey 1-3 Guadalajara
(Mier 45+1')-(Pena 14', Lopez 56', 61')

Pachuca 6-0 Veracruz
(Lozano 34', 39', 90', Botta 66', Pizarro 75', Gutierrez 77')

Querétaro 1-1 Chiapas
(Benitez 71')-(Romero 73')

Atlas 0-2 Cruz Azul
(Gimenez 9', Benitez 23')

Dorados de Sinaloa 3-1 Santos
(Caraglio PK 31', Morelo 90+1', 90+7')-(Gonzalez 77')

North American League Tables

US Soccer announced the 23 man roster for the upcoming Olympic qualifying tie with Colombia. Several senior team players are dropping down for the big two-legged match, including Jordan Morris, Julian Green, and Matt Miazga. Here's the full roster:

Goalkeepers: Cody Cropper (Milton Keynes Dons), Ethan Horvath (Molde), Zach Steffen (Freiburg II).
Defenders:Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Matt Miazga (Chelsea/ENG), Eric Miller (Colorado Rapids), Tim Parker (Vancouver Whitecaps), Desevio Payne (FC Groningen), Shane O'Neill (Cambridge United), Brandon Vincent (Chicago Fire), Walker Zimmerman (FC Dallas).
Midfielders:Fatai Alashe (San Jose Earthquakes), Paul Arriola (Tijuana), Luis Gil (Queretaro), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham), Jerome Kiesewetter (VfB Stuttgart II), Matt Polster (Chicago Fire), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew).

Forwards: Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), Mario Rodriguez (Borussia Monchengladbach II), Khiry Shelton (New York City FC).

As for the US Senior team, they have some World Cup Qualifiers coming up agaisnt Guatemala over the next FIFA window and they will likely have to get the job done without Fabian Johnson. He injured his groin and is in doubt for the affair. Darlington Nagbe also went down with a scary leg injury in Portland's comeback against Real Salt Lake. So he might be out too.

As with everything Jose Mourinho, I'm taking this report with a grain of salt, but the Portuguese manager has supposedly signed a pre contract with Manchester United to become their next manager. It was already reported that he had chosen his next team and that he would sign on in July. The fishy part is that he will be paid £5m if they do not appoint him before May 1, and a further £10m if they don't before June 1.Which just seems sort of strange to me. So, yeah. Not sure if I trust this one.

Today's Matches
Premier League
Newcastle v. Sunderland- 9:30am- NBCSN
Southampton v. Liverpool- 9:30am
Manchester City v. Manchester United- 12pm- NBCSN
Tottenham v. AFC Bournemouth-12pm

Philadelphia Union v. New England Revolution- 2:30pm
DC United v. COlorado Rapids- 5pm- ESPN2
Sporting Kansas City v. Toronto FC- 7pm- FS1

VfB Stuttgart v. Bayer Leverkusen- 10:30am- FS1
FC Augsburg v. Borussia Dortmund- 12:30pm

La Liga
Espanyol v. Athletic Bilbao- 7am
Villarreal v. Barcelona- 11am
Valencia v. Celta Vigo- 1:15pm
Real Madrid v. Sevilla- 3:30pm- beIN

Serie A
Atalanta v. Bologna- 7:30am
Frosinone v. Fiorentina- 10am
Hellas Verona v. Carpi- 10am
Sampdoria v. Chievo Verona- 10am
Sassuolo v. Udinese- 10am
Torino v. Juventus- 10am- beIN
Napoli v. Genoa- 1pm
AC Milan v. Lazio- 3:45pm

Ligue 1
Bordeaux v. Bastia- 9am
Nice v. GFC Ajaccio- 12pm
Paris-St. Germain v. AS Monaco- 4pm

Liga MX
Puebla v. UANL- 7pm- Univision Deportes
Pumas UNAM v. Morelia- Univision

It Happened in America: Red Bulls earn first win, Caps get Cascadia win

Chicago Fire 0-0 Columbus Crew
Columbus is one of the more surprising teams without a point in 2016. Chicago is a great opponent to face when looking to end a short losing skid, but Columbus failed to win at home against Philadelphia last week, so dropping points to Chicago would only have been following suit. On the plus side, they were wearing their standard all black kits instead of the potentially cursed white and blue monstrosities they wore for games one and two. At the very least, the non-cursed jersey's didn't concede a goal. Although they didn't score any either. This despite outshooting Chicago 12-4 on the afternoon. The Crew are still winless after this, but at least they have a point to their name.

New York Red Bulls 4-3 Houston Dynamo
The Red Bulls have also been of to a pretty slow start based on their pre-season expectations. Their 0-for opening doesn't bode well for their Supporters Shield defense or Eat title aspirations. Sacha Kljestan's 22nd minute goal looked like a good sign for their turnaround, but a pair of Will Bruin goals before halftime put a damper on that. The second half brought some false hope for them. Mike Grella got them on level terms in the 63rd minute, but his defense failed him three minutes later. Alex slipped a shot through plenty of legs in the 65th to put the Dynamo back in front. But Yvette was more hope left for the home team. Felipe launched beautiful curling inside the far post in the 77th minute to level proceedings once more. He would bag his brace in the 84th minute to get the grab from hope to actual success, and the Red Bulls out of the winless club.

FC Dallas 2-0 Montreal Impact
Didier Drogba was not in the starting line-up for Montreal, but he was on the bench for the first time this season. This far it's been debatable whether or not he's necessary to their success this season. the probably could have used his goal scoring prowess for the entirety of this one, though. He came on in the 70th minute, but it wasn't enough of a boost for them. Dallas picked up late goals from Mauro Diaz in the 79th and Maxi Urruti in the 86th to give them the full share of the points. 

Seattle Sounders 1-2 Vancouver Whitecaps
The other two shockingly pointless clubs were Seattle and Vancouver. The two Cascadia rivals would meet both looking to get on the scoreboard as far as the Western Conference standings were concerned. Vancouver got the first punch in. A trip of Christian Bolanos in the tenth minute set up Pedro Morales's spot kick to put the Caps in front early on. They would carry that lead through halftime until Andreas Ivanschitz drilled home a free kick in the 52nd minute. Another penalty would come back to haunt Seattle. In the 74h minute, Blas Perez may have been tripped in the penalty area by Chad Marshall and the ref pointed to the spot, where Morales earned his brace with ease to give Vancouver their first points of the year.

LA Galaxy 3-1 San Jose Earthquakes
The California Clasico is always great fun, and this one was no exception. Shortly before halftime was when things started to get heated. After four yellows had already been shown, Simon Dawkins slid into the back of Sebastian Lletget's legs to earn himself a straight red card. With San Jose a man down, Galaxy took full control in the second half. Gyasi Zardes scored twice in quick succession to give them a surely insurmountable lead. The first was in the 56th and the second came six minutes later. The Quakes did pull one back through Chris Wondolowski in the 89th minute, but it wouldn't be enough to salvage a result since a Robbie Keane penalty goal ended any hope. 

Portland Timbers 2-2 Real Salt Lake
The Timbers gave themselves a rough second half against San Jose with two bad goals allowed in the first. This time around, Portland had a goal called back on offside in the second minute, and Real Salt Lake made them pay with a gorgeous free kick goal from Joao Plata in the 16th. They received a boost in the 31st when Kyle Beckerman was a sent off for a studs up challenge on Fanendo Adi, forcing RSL to play down a man nearly an hour. The Timbers came out firing against their short handed opponenets in the second half, but they would end up going down 2-0 thanks to a pacy counter attack by Yura Movsisyan in the 58th minute. The returning RSL forward bolted past Nat Borchers and beat Adam Kwarasey with a well placed shot. 

After a couple close calls for the Timbers, they finally broke through in the 79th minute when Adi knocked home a goal following a scramble in the box. Their luck seemed to have finally turned for the better in teh 83rd when Jamison Olave was shown straight red for a left arm slap to Adi's face in the penalty area. Not only was it an unnecessary challenge, but it gifted a penalty to the Timbers, which Adi nailed to level the score. Now, RSL would have to defend for ten minutes with nine men against a Timbers squad loaded with attackers. Portland was unable to penetrate the shell when all was said and done, despite several golden opportunities. 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

It Happened in England: Arsenal, Leicester get big wins at the top

Everton 0-2 Arsenal
Arsenal were in desperate need of a win to get off their skid and get back into the title conversation, or at least save their fall towards landing outside the top four. They got exactly the start they needed, too. A wonderful team passing effort led to Danny Welbeck slipping through on goal for an easy slide home in the seventh minute. They spent the majority of the first half in control, too. Their play wasn't anything I would call dominating, but it was enough to earn themselves a second goal before the break. In the 42nd minute, Alex Iwobi picked p his first Arsenal goal by latching onto a Hector Bellerin long ball before knocking a shot through Joel Robles's five hole.

Things took a turn for the dark shortly after the hour mark for Arsenal. As David Ospina dove to claim a through pass aimed at Romelu Lukaku, the Belgian slid into the Arsenal keeper, causing a lengthy injury delay. Ospina favored his lower back after the collision and, although he remained in the game, he was rather immobile between the posts and was hardly able to stand upright. Mesut Ozil was subbed off with an injury in the 74th minute. With that, Arsenal's attack time was surely finished, and they still had the problem of a hobbled goalkeeper.

Those problems never seemed to cast any shadow on their victory efforts. Everton's inability to create opportunities was enough to allow Arsenal some breathing room with their questionable substitution policy. Arsenal even had chances to attack, including one that saw Olivier Giroud score, but have it called back for a shove to Phil Jagielka as he headed the ball home.

This was a much needed win for the Gunners, who still find themselves three points back of Tottenham, who are yet to play this weekend. The Gunners do have a game in hand over their North London rivals after the weekend is through. As for Everton, their awful league campaign continues despite their run to the FA Cup semi-finals.

Crystal Palace 0-1 Leicester City

The curring leaders got themselves a favorable matchup here as they took on a Crystal Palace side that has slid into the relegation conversation.It looked early on like this would be another match where the Foxes would have to gut out a result against a lesser opponent on the road. Crystal Palace was in a little more control over the first half hour and the only great chance for Leicester was a Riyad Mahrez breakaway that was saved by Wayne Hennessey before it trickled wide. Things changed after that opening 30 minutes. In the 34th minute, Leicester had a controlled attack that resulted in a low Jamie Vardy coss finding the powerful boot of Mahrez for the first, and only, goal of the game.

The second half saw pressure continue to mount upon Leicester. Palace began collecting half chances left and right. Crosses, corners, and a few sustained attacks all led to Palace looking more and more like equalizing. All of their shots were off target or off the woodwork though and Leicester scrapped themselves another win to stretch their lead to eight points at the top with Tottenham in action tomorrow. We also need to start thinking about Palace as a relegation candidate. They are only eight points clear of the drop and seemingly fading fast.

Chelsea 2-2 West Ham
West Ham's sights on a shock spot in the top four ran into a Chelsea side that really wonders what their season would be like if they had canned Jose Mourinho earlier on. It was West Ham striking first with wonderful curler from Manuel Lanzini in the 16th minute. they were only able to contain the lead until seconds before the halftime whistle when Cesc Fabregas blasted home a free kick, The first half would be kind at the start for West Ham. The tie was preserved with a wonderful diving save from Adrian just before the hour mark. Then, in the 62nd, Andy Carroll finished off a pacy counter attack to return the lead to the Hammers. It looked like they would hold out for the win until Michail Antonio clattered into Ruben Loftus-Cheek on the very edge of the penalty area in the 88th minute. Fabregas defiantly hammered home the penalty to level the score and earn his club a share of the points.

Watford 1-2 Stoke City
One of the more meaningless games of the weekend, Watford hosts Stoke in a clash of irrelevant mid-table clubs with nothing much to play for anymore. Jonathan Walters tapped home a lost cross in the 18th minute to open the scoring for Stoke here. Their lead would double early in the second half thanks to a cheeky chip from Joselu that floated over a helpless Heurelho  Gomes and into the net. Troy Deeney tried to make a game of it late. His 86th minute goal gave Watford a shot at pulling out a result here.

West Bromwich Albion 0-1 Norwich City
Norwich's fight against relegation heads to West Bromwich Albion, who's hot streak of late has taken them out of that drop zone conversation. After a scoreless first half, the visiting relegation candidates jumped in front int he 50th minute with a well timed poke from Robert Brady. That would be enough for Norwich as they get the win and lift themselves out of the bottom three with tomorrow morning's Tyne-Wear Derby poised to have an effect on their fate.

Swansea City 1-0 Aston Villa
What a marquee matchup for the day. Swansea City, who are likely safe from the drop, welcome last place Aston Villa to Wales. The match began with a couple of Aston Villa half chances, but more interesting was the 17th minute scuffle between the two sides that includes half punch thrown by Ashley Williams.Overall, Aston Villa looked a little more aggressive than we have come to expect from them. They held an early advantage in possession, but Swansea was able to even it out by the break. Neither team was able to provide us with a goal, however,

Swansea took control of the match early on in the second half. After pretty much ending Aston Villa's attacking ambition, they scored the go ahead goal in the 54th minute. Brad Guzan launched himself towards a free kick, missed it entirely, and allowed Federico Fernandez to shoulder the ball into an empty net. That turned out to be Swansea's only shot on goal of the entire match. That was only one fewer than Villa could muster for the duration. After the goal, saying Villa had given up would have been an understatement. At a time where you would expect them to be scraping for any chance at goal to earn any sort of result here, they were simply done playing. It was almost as if they had resigned themselves to their last place fate.

It is only a matter of time until Villa's fate is sealed. With seven matches remaining, they sit 12 points away from safety with only 21 points left to play for. Swansea will take the win as another boost to their likely chance to stay up. They are 11 points clear of the bottom three.

Hooligan's Wake Up: NASL signing big names

Yesterday's Scores
New York City 0-1 Orlando City
(Larin 7')

Schalke 04 2-1 Borussia Monchengladbach
(Nordtveit OG 59', Goretzka 83')-(Christensen 79')

La Liga
Getafe 1-1 Eibar
(Velazquez 7')-(Borja 87')

Ligue 1
Olympique Marseille 2-5 Stade Rennes 
(Thauvin 20', Ronaldo 50')-(Gourcuff 4', 59', Diagne 9', Dembele 14', Sio 77')

Liga MX
Queretaro 1-1 Chiapas
(Benitez 71')-(Romero 73')

Tijuana 0-0 Toluca

MLS isn't the only American league signing old European players. the New York Cosmos have brought in Croatian international Niko Kranjcar. He has had spells with several Premier League clubs, including Tottenham and Portsmouth, who he led to an FA Cup title in 2008. He joins Giorgios Samaras as major international names to join the USA's second division this season, which starts on April 2.

Several big European stars are not participating in the upcoming international window. Gareth Bale is not playing for Wales next weekend and Diego Costa is out for Spain. Add that to Eden Hazard being rested by Belgium and we have a few big names taking some time off. European countries are playing friendlies in preparation for this summer's European Championships in France.

It's well known that Manchester United and Liverpool supporters pretty much hate each other. After several incidents of offensive chanting, firework lighting, and hateful bannering along a motorway, both sides have been charged for unruly fan behavior by UEFA after Thursday's Europa League clash. The case will be heard at the end of the season to determine their punishment.

Also in the angry fan department, Olympique Marseille have had themselves a rough year. They haven't won at home since September and the fans are getting upset about it. After their 5-2 defeat yesterday, supporters clashed with riot police as they tried to storm the field in protest of their club's awful performance. Thankfully, nobody was injured in the ruckus.

Today's Matches
Premier League
Everton v. Arsenal- 8:45am- NBCSN
Chelsea v. West Ham- 11am- USA
Crystal Palace v. Leicester City- 11am- NBCSN
Watford v. Stoke City- 11am
West Bromwich Albion v. Norwich City- 11am
Swansea City v. Aston Villa- 1:30pm- NBCSN

Chicago Fire v. Columbus Crew- 5pm
New York Red Bulls v. Houston Dynamo- 7pm
FC Dallas v. Montreal Impact- 9pm
Seattle Sounders v. Vancouver Whitecaps- 10pm
LA Galaxy v. San Jose Earthquakes- 10pm
Portland Timbers v. Real Salt Lake- 10:30pm

FC Koln v. Bayern Munich- 10:30am
Hamburg SV v. TSG Hoffenheim- 10:30am
Hertha Berlin v. FC Ingolstadt 04- 10:30am
Vfl Wolfsburg v. SV Darmstadt 98- 10:30am
Werder Bremen v. Mainz- 10:30am
Eintracht Frankfurt v. Hannover 96- 1:30pm- FOX

La Liga
Sporting Gijon v. Atletico Madrid- 11am- beIN
Granada v. Rayo Vallecano- 1:15pm
Real Sociedad v. Las Palmas- 1:15pm
Deportivo La Coruna v. Levante- 3:30pm
Real Betis v. Malaga- 5:05pm

Serie A
Empoli v. Palermo- 1pm
AS Roma v. Inter Milan- 3:45pm- beIN

Ligue 1
St. Etienne v. Montpellier- 12pm
Angers v. Lorient- 3pm
Caen v. Troyes- 3pm
Lille v. Toulouse- 3pm
Stade de Reims v. Guingamp- 3pm
Olympique Lyonnais v. Nantes- 4pm

Liga MX
Club America v. Leon- 7pm- Univision
Monterrey v. Guadalajara- 9pm- Univision
Pachuca v. Veracruz- 10:06pm- NBC Universo
Atlas v. Cruz Azul- 10:30pm
Dorados de Sinaloa v. Santos- 11pm- ESPN Deportes

Friday, March 18, 2016

Friday Night MLS: Orlando triumphs with early Larin goal

New York City 0-1 Orlando City
The battle of last season's expansion clubs got off to a rocket fast start. Cyle Larin had the visiting Orlando City up in front in the seventh minute. It was sort of an accidental goal, too. Rafael Ramos played a cross into the penalty area that was aimed into traffic. it just kind of fell to Larin for an easy header. But that would round out the scoring. That's not to say there weren't any chances, though. Mix Diskerud had a blast saved by Joe Bendik off a poorly defended corner in the 17th minute. Bendik would also make a stop on Diskerud at the hour mark. Mix made a lazy shot off one on one with the Orlando keeper. Tony Taylor would miss a sitter seconds later. Finally, Kevin Molino couldn't coral a pass when he had a wide open goal in front of him in the 62nd.

The poor finishing was the real story of the match. New York had the bulk of the possession after the opening goal, but failed to produce anything but all those failed chances. They held a two-thirds possession advantage on the match and they managed to take 16 shots. Of those, only six were on Joe Bendik's target.

This is Orlando City's first win on the young season after a pair of draws to open things up. New York City suffers their first loss of the year to go along with their one win and one draw.

Hooligan's Wake Up: FIFA losing money, criminal proceedings open against Valcke

Yesterday's Scores
Europa League- Round of 16 Second Leg
Bayer Leverkusen 0-0 Villarreal (0-2 on aggregate)

Valencia 2-1 Athletic Bilbao (2-2 on aggregate, Athletic Bilbao advances on away goals)
(Mina 13', Santos 37')-(Adruiz 75')

Lazio 0-3 Sparta Prague (1-4 on aggregate)
(Dockal 10', Krejci 12', Julis 44')

Braga 3-1 Fenerbahce (3-2 on aggregate)
(Hassan 11', Josue PK 69', Stojilijkovic 74')-(Potuk 45+3')

Tottenham 1-2 Borussia Dortmund (1-5 on aggregate)
(Heung-Min 74')-(Aubameyang 24', 70')

Sevilla 3-0 FC Basel (3-0 on aggregate)
(Rami 35', Gameiro 44', 45')

Manchester United 1-1 Liverpool (1-3 on aggregate)
(Martial 32' PK)-(Coutinho 45')

Anderlecht 0-0 Shakhtar Donetsk (1-3 on aggregate)

FIFA released it's financials yesterday and there are some gaudy numbers. The organuization holds a cash reserve of $1.33 billion, which is down from last year's figure of $1.44 billion. This is due to them recording a $121.6 million loss in 2015. Also, it was revealed that Sepp Blatter's total compensation package was $3.76 million, which includes pension and other contributions. Jerome Valcke was paid $2.11 million. Both are now off the books thanks to their bans,

Speaking of Mr. Valcke, criminal proceedings have opened agaisnt the suspended former secretary general. He has not yet been arrested, but he was questioned by authorities concerning the findings of FIFA's ethics investigation.Despite mountains of evidence agaisnt him, his lawyers maintain his innocence by saying he has done absolutely nothing wrong.

Aston Villa's American CEO Tom Fox has resigned from the club. He has spent the last year and a half at Villa, where he has overseen their plummet to the Premier League basement and a likely date with relegation.

Finally, the Champions and Europa League's held their draws for their quarterfinals. both sets will be played in the first two weeks of April. First, the Champions League:

Wolfsburg v. Real Madrid
Bayern Munich v. Benfica
Barcelona v. Atletico Madrid
Paris St.-Germain v. Manchester City

Bayern Munich and Real Madrid have the easiest path to the semi-finals while Barcelona gets a domestic challenge with Atletico Madrid, who currently sit behind Barca in second place in Spain. PSG will have to travel to England again, where they face Manchester City, making their first quarterfinal appearance.

Braga v. Shakhtar Donetsk
Villarreal v. Sparta Prague
Athletic Bilbao v. Sevilla
Borussia Dortmund v. Liverpool

This is as touch as Liverpool could have gotten. A trip to Borussia Dortmund is far from ideal for them. Athletic Bilbao and Sevilla give us another all Spain derby. Villarreal faces Sparta Prague, who upset Lazio in the round of 16. Portugal's Braga gets Ukraine's Shakhtar Donetsk, meaning we are sure to have someone from outside the top three leagues in the semis.

Today's Matches
New York City v. Orlando City- 7pm- UniMas

Schalke 04 v. Borussia Monchengladbach- 3:30pm- FS2

La Liga
Getafe v. Eibar- 3:30pm

Ligue 1
Olympique Marseille v. Stade Rennes- 3:30pm

Liga MX
Queretaro v. Chiapas- 9:30pm- Univision Deportes
Tijuana v. Toluca- 11:30pm

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Hooligan's Wake Up: FIFA admits to bribery, seeks repayment

Yesterday's Scores
UEFA Champions League- Round of 16 Second Leg
Barcelona 3-1 Arsenal (5-1 on aggregate)
(Neymar 18', Suarez 68', Messi 88')-(Elneny 51')

Bayern Munich 4-2 Juventus (6-4 on aggregate)
(Lewandowski 73', Muller 90+1', Alcantara 108', Coman 110')-(Pogba 5', Cuadrado 28')

Full Champions League Recap

CONCACAF Champions League- Semi-Finals First Leg
Santos 0-0 Club America

Both of the first legs in the all Mexican semi-finals ended scoreless.

FIFA came clean on something that surprised absolutely nobody. They revealed that bribes were prevalent in bidding for World Cup host privileges. I'm not shocked that they know this, but I am sort of surprised that they actually admitted it. In addition to this confession, they are demanding the return of the bribe money from the likes of Jack Warner, Chuck Blazer, and others.

The jury is still out on Diego Costa for his weird behavior towards Gareth Barry in the FA Cup last weekend, but he at least won't face punishment for the "rude gesture" he gave Everton's fans on his way off the pitch. The FA found insufficient evidence to charge him with anything extra in that regard.

The Juventus come from ahead loss is significant to England. It means that they will hold on to their four Champions League spots for another season. There was some speculation that a poor showing from English sides in the Champions League coupled with an Italian side making a run might bump Italy ahead in UEFA coefficient, giving Serie A an extra spot while taking one away from the Premier League. Thanks to Manchester City moving on and Juventus losing, that is now mathematically impossible.

Today's Matches

Europa League- Round of 16 Second Leg
Bayer Leverkusen v. Villarreal- 2pm- FS1
Valencia v. Athletic Bilbao- 2pm- FS2
Lazio v. Sparta Prague- 2pm
Braga v. Fenerbahce- 4:05pm
Tottenham v. Borussia Dortmund- 4:05pm- FS2
Sevilla v. FC Basel- 4:05pm
Manchester United v. Liverpool- 4:05pm- FS1
Anderlecht v. Shakhtar Donetsk- 4:05pm

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

It Happened in Europe: Barcelona take care of Arsenal, Bayern storm back over Juve

Barcelona 3-1 Arsenal (5-1 on aggregate)
The general consensus here is that Arsenal had no hope heading into Camp Nou after losing 2-0 at home to Barcelona. Despite starting things off with a few kind of chances, the Gunners found themselves further down relatively quickly. Neymar got past the Arsenal defense and casually slipped a shot past David Ospina to dig the Arsenal hole deeper. It wasn't the end of the night for them, yet. They needed three to win anyway, jsut now they would have to do it without the added buffer of extra time. But one goal would prove to be difficult enough to come by.

They got that one goal about five minutes into the second half. Mohamed Elneny bagged his first Arsenal goal with an impressive strike under the bar to send the faintest glimmer of hope shining towards North London, a glimmer would be shut out by none other than Luis Suarez. His 65th minute acrobatic finish truly snuffed out the Gunners' hopes, as three goals in 25 minutes in Barcelona was a most impossible task. That wasn't going to stop them from trying, though. They tried to throw numbers forward and bring on attacking players, but Barcelona's skill was simply too much for them to overcome. In the 79th minute, an Alexis Sanchez free kick produced three consecutive clear chances, all of which were snuffed out by an outstanding Marc-Andre ter Stegen. If none of those shots found the back of the net, one had to wonder if anything Arsenal presented would produce results. As if Barca needed yet another goal, Lionel Messi took advantage of a misdirected Arsenal defense to close the book on this one.

Bayern Munich 4-2 Juventus (6-4 on aggregate)
Juventus would have to work hard to secure a result after allowing a pair of away goals to Bayern Munich in the first leg. The hard work started right away in the form of Paul Pogba, who capitalized off a gross miscalculation by Manuel Neuer. The French starlet scored for the Italians before five minutes had been played, The lead went to two goals, and the away goals tiebreaker was equalized, in the 28th minute with a goal from Juan Cuadrado, who finished off a brilliant team run down the pitch..

Bayern would have an uphill climb at home in the second half. The fact that the game started to get heated and violent certainly didn't help. Five of the eight yellow cards in the match were shown within a half hour of the start of the second half. Robert Lewandowski got the first goal of the comeback in the 73rd minute. Just when it looked like a second goal would not come along, Thomas Muller stepped in to save his side.

Extra time came and it was all Bayern. Thiago Alcantara gave them their first lead on the night in the 108th minute and Kingsley Coman, who is on loan from Juventus, finished it off two minutes later. Juventus would have one golden chance to pull back, but it would have been too little anyway. Pep Guardiola's men go through by the skin of their teeth with some late heroics, and the manager's goal of winning the Champions League before departing for Manchester City remains alive.

Hooligan's Wake Up: Kompany out a month with another calf strain

Yesterday's Scores
UEFA Champions League- Round of 16 Second Leg
Manchester City 0-0 Dynamo Kiev (3-1 on aggregate)

Atletico Madrid 0-0 PSV Eindhoven (0-0 on aggregate, 8-7 on penalties)

CONCACAF Champions League- Semi-Finals First Leg
Queretaro 0-0 UANL

Amid heavy links to the Chelsea job, Italy's Antonio Conte is officially leaving the Italian National team with the goal of returning to club management. All signs have pointed to him taking over at Chelsea. He has reportedly been in negotiations with the club for some time now, so it would be a shock if he went elsewhere.

Manchester City may have qualified for the Champions League quarterfinals for the first time ever, but they lost something rather significant in the process. Captain and star defender Vincent Kompany went down with another calf strain early in the match. Manuel Pellegrini has said that the Belgian will miss at least a month this time around. This is a huge loss for the Citizens, who fell out of the Premier League title race the last time Kompany missed significant time. Now, they risk falling out of the top four with Manchester United and West Ham both surging.

Sadio Mane was sent off in Southampton's match against Stoke on Saturday. Southampton appealed the red card and has won the appeal and Mane will not serve a suspension. The foul in question was an aerial challenge that went slightly awry for Mane. Even Stoke's manager Mark Hughes said he didn't think a red card was necessary.

Today's Matches
UEFA Champions League- Round of 16 Second Leg
Barcelona v. Arsenal- 3:45pm- FS1
Bayern Munich v. Juventus- 3;45pm- FS2

CONCACAF Champions League- Semi-Finals First Leg
Santos v. Club America- 10pm

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

It Happened in Europe: Atletico advances on penalties, City through with scoreless draw

Manchester City 0-0 Dynamo Kiev (3-1 on aggregate)
Manchester City is England's only real hope left in the Champions League. At least their quarterfinal second leg did not present much of a challenge. The order of the day for them was to defend well and not take any chances, but it didn't get off to the right start. The fragile Vincent Kompany went down with a leg injury inside ten minutes that would force City to make an early sub and force their best defender out of the match far too early. City was quite passive, even down an important defender. They held their Ukrainian visitors scoreless in the first half while only surrendering a couple shots.

Atletico Madrid 0-0 PSV Eindhoven (0-0 on aggregate, 8-7 on penalties)
Eindhoven got a mostly favorable result in their first leg scoreless draw, now they had to ace the real challenge by travelling to Spain in need of a win. Their defense was tested early and often with Atletico taking plenty of shots in the first half, although no goals could be found. The shootout was quite the thriller. It took eight rounds to give us the only save and it came from Jan Oblak in that eighth round. Juanfran nailed the subsequent winner to end PSV's hopes of a massive upset.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Hooligan's Wake Up: Costa charged with misconduct

Yesterday's Scores
Premier League
Leicester City 1-0 Newcastle
(Okazaki 25')

Full Recap

La Liga
Granada 1-1 Espanyol
(Rochina 40')-(Lopes 82')

European League Tables

Diego Costa has been charged with misconduct by the FA for his bite/seducing of Gareth Barry in Saturday's FA Cup match. At the moment, his suspension is still the standard one game for a red card, so he will miss Chelsea's next game agaisnt West Ham. it could get longer if the FA finds enough cause to do so.

As for players not getting suspended, Marouane Fellaini will not be banned retroactively for his elbow to Emre Can the Europa League on Thursday. He will take the pitch in Thursday's second leg, where Manchester United finds themselves down 2-0 to their English rivals.

The Portland Timbers trade for Darren Mattocks has gone through. They have sent Targeted Allocation Money to Vancouver in exchange for the winger. In a separate transaction, they have signed Fanendo Adi to an extension. He joins Diego Valeri, Diego Chara, and general manager Gavin Wilkinson as Timbers who have received extensions in the past week.

The draw for the FA Cup semi-finals has been made. Crystal Palace will take on Watford while Everton awaits the winner of the Manchester United-West Ham replay. The matches will be played at Wembley Stadium on the weekend of April 23-24.

There were a few minor suspensions for FIFA ethics violations. South Africa's former chief executive Leslie Sedibe has been banned for five years while former referees' chiefs Steve Goddard and Adeel Carelse are gone for two years. The bans relate to violations of FIFA's code of ethics regarding rules of conduct, loyalty, and duty disclosure.

Today's Matches
UEFA Champions League- Round of 16 Second Leg
Manchester City v. Dynamo Kiev- 2:45pm- FS1
Atletico Madrid v. PSV Eindhoven- 2;45pm- FS2

CONCACAF Champions League- Semi-Finals First Leg
Queretaro v. UANL- 10pm